Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining
Every cloud has a silver lining… first coined by the English Author John Milton in 1634, is still widely used today among countless other proverbs and idioms to convey the idea that we should always try to look on the bright side of things (this phrase always makes me laugh because it makes me think of the Monty Python Movie, The Life of Brian). Whether it’s a matter of finding the most minute positive aspect from some of the world’s biggest natural or manmade disasters or looking at the positive side of some of the worst political decisions of the last two centuries, we only have two options:
1. we either reframe a difficult situation by pointing out even the most mundane observation to reduce the pain or disappointment, something to cling to and use as the stepping stone to move on and “rebuild”, or…
2. we take a defeatist attitude, wallow in our own self-pity and waste precious energy that could be used to improve the situation and / or solve the problem.
With a positive or even an innovative perspective, the negative could even be turned around and be seen as an advantage.
One of the biggest natural and man-made disasters to strike the planet was the tsunami that devastated Japan and in particular Fukushima in the Iwate Prefecture. An unfathomable devastation was seen as a “Wake-up Call” for the whole world to rethink the use of nuclear power and the security of all existing nuclear facilities.
Even the election and behavior of the American President Donald Trump has had its positive side (I know it’s hard to believe… but read on). Donald Trump has galvanized Europe and numerous other countries around the world (195 in all) to reinforce their commitment and to work even harder in defense of the environment and the reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions after he decided to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord of 2015 (New York Times Article and Video).
I use these examples to preface really good lesson, which we will finally see is about cleft sentences. Not the most interesting thing on Earth but it should be fun getting there. I originally saw this lesson in Barcelona at the ELT Conference in February 2017 where Daniel Brint shared it with the attendees within his presentation on Using Commercials as a learning tool. His original version can be found at his blog http://spotonbrint.blogspot.com.es/
Here is the adapted lesson from Daniel Brint. It’s best done in pairs or small groups.
You can either choose the full screen option and run the lesson directly from Scribd but I think the best option is to download the PPT and run it from your computer; although you will need an internet connection in both cases (unless you download the audio video and save them to use without a connection prior to class).
Cleft Sentences PowerPoint by paulreyburn on Scribd
Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining
- Length: 797 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)
- Rating: Excellent
My mind was all muddled up and everything went topsy-turvy inside it. Yet, I remained still and silent. No one would ever imagine how I was feeling. There wasn't the cool atmosphere around me, nor the usual tranquility outside. My heart was pounding fast. I could hear the voice of my doctor saying that I had cancer and I could only live for a month.
My heart was simply ripped apart. I could not believe it at first, but I knew I had to. After all these wonderful years and enthralling moments, I finally have to face God's greatest challenge. My mind wasn't as messy as before anymore and I couldn't even think of what to think. It seemed as if I had nothing to worry about, nothing to do, nothing to say. I was trapped inside this room waiting for the Grim Reaper to reap my innocent soul.
Day by day, I remained silent in my bed thinking of nothing but my imminent death. I never spoke, consumed anything, nor stood up. I was totally weak. I was literally dying.
I woke up suddenly one day, I had been disturbed by the sound of the television someone had switched on. I heard a soft sweet voice coming out of the TV later. It was a little girl's voice but wasn't a distinct one. I could only hear a word, which was the last word of her mesmerising speech. And that was "Live!" Live. Just as simple as that, "Live". Live, it kept ringing in my head for the next few hours. I never expected I would get addicted to thinking this word over and over. I forced my dry mouth to open. It was like trying to pull open a lift stuck on the highest floor, and it ached too. I desperately told myself to refrain from the pain and just rip the door of the lift apart. Aaargh! It was futile. Totally, extremely hopeless. Again, my heart sank.
As I recalled the word, "Live", I forced myself to open my mouth and utter that petty word. I tried very hard indeed. And yes, I made it. I merely blurted out that word, "live"! I was emotionally filled with joy. I could hardly believe it,those lazy days of lying in my bed doing nothing had been counteracted by a simple word, "live"!
I knew I had to regain my joyful and enthusiastic spirit, so I started off with stretching my legs and arms.
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Silver Lining Cloud Lift Heard Mouth Inside Feeling Floor Again
Although the first try was unsuccessful, I did make another try to prove my everlasting desire to live. I had to move on with life even though it's getting shorter. I knew I also had to appreciate the time I still had. I knew I could not let my family down just because I was sick and worried. Nevertheless, I had to strive hard to get along with life. There were many other things I wanted to do and with that, I had to appreciate time and treat every second precious.
I sat straight in my bed, my back against the wall. I started thinking about the things I would do within this very month. This very month, the sole month when I still exist. The only period before I am gone forever and others would only remember me by studying the words engraved on my tomb.
First of all, I will pay a visit to every orphanage on earth. I choose to because only orphans will feel great never-ending sorrow over the loss of their respective parents. I truly feel sorry for them as I imagine the pain my parents will suffer over the loss of their only son.I'll share my feeling with those orphans and try to get to know them personally as well. I'll also visit old folks' homes, rehabilitation centres, and other charity homes for the underprivileged ones. Then, I'll spend time with my ever-supportive family. 'll work with them, play with the kids, study with the youths, and also keep the old ones a company. All these moments I'll cherish forever and in the meantime, appreciate them. The final and most important thing I'll do before my death is of course, thank God. I want to thank Him for 'torturing' me instead of my family, for making this short but memorable life as mesmerising as ever, for all the support and last but not least, for the happiness He had given me, as happiness is the most priceless element in life I can ever think of. I can fervently say that nothing is more valuable than happiness, joy,or love. Without them, life would have been meaningless and hectic.
In the midst of all these, I have finally discovered the true meaning of life - to live and to leave.